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Author Topic: Asparagus  (Read 1804 times)

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KimB

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Asparagus
« on: April 06, 2011, 07:13:02 PM »

 :gwave3 Hey... I have a question...does anybody have any gardening expertise in growing asparagus??? We me tending to mom, we let it GO. We planted it 3 years ago, or was it 2...but havent touched it...last year I dont I even took the time to see what it looked like. All I know that there are these big tall woody things out there in spots where the plants were planted... Will new shoots grow off these...should I break these 5 ft woody things off? The ground is covered in leaves... so hopefully I can get other weedy looking things out of there so we can till the leaves in. Does the woody things mean that they are dead totally? Whatcha think? We planted ALOT, I know that.

thanks,
Kim
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NavyGal

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 09:01:30 PM »

Kim - I'm by no means an asparagus expert, but we did find a neglected patch on our other property.  It's a pretty miserable looking bed, BUT - I have managed to get some asparagus off of it! 

First, you need to try and clear out as many weeds as possible from around the asparagus.  They don't do well with the competition.  The woody things you describe are probably the fern shoots left from last fall.  Ours sends up ferny shoots as well - dad typically mows over them :grr   From what I understand, the ferns are used to help gather/store food for overwintering.  Once the ferns die, you can cut them down.

We've gathered some new asparagus shoots this year,  so keep your eyes peeled for new shoots coming up around the base of the old ferns.  Don't let them get too big or they'll be tough and woody to eat.

Maybe someone else with more experience will come along.  I do know they are a heavy feeder - lots of composted manure makes 'em happy!
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jollyquilter

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 10:45:19 PM »

I think NG is right on the money!!  :gsmilie3:

but I woul dlike to add that I would not put the tiller in the bed. Asparagus comes up off of underground shoots and the tiller would really make a mess and kill alot of the asparagus.
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KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 11:05:01 PM »

GREAT!! I will definately look for shoots, not use the tiller... So these woody 5ft things should I now break them off? or will that mess the whole thing up... they are not green at all... look like twigs coming up from the ground. There are no weeds, thats a great thing, but I can use the hoe to turn the leaves under gently... I have COW manure that I can get from an OLDER area of the pasture...would that be too strong? IF I can get out there without being Poked from the cow that has horns... she scares me to death!! Plus the "mud" is deep out there!! lol...

That will be sooo cool to have some "free" asparagus!! : )  :ghurray2:

Thanks!

Kim
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Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 11:08:48 PM »

Hey...good timing for me!  I just talked a little about my asparagus in my blog.  I have attached a photo of my tire asparagus bed.  You can just make out what is left of last years asparagus, waiting for new shoots to start coming on.  Here is the benefit of my experience so far with asparagus.

Do not take a tiller in that asparagus patch!!  Those tall dead stems are last years asparagus ferns.  Just cut them off just above the ground.  The new shoots will come up from the roots of the plants.  Rake the leaves out of there and pull any new grass that might be trying to start.  To curtail weeds you can sprinkle rock salt on top of the asparagus bed now before things start really growing.  Asparagus likes salt, most plants do not so you will keep down a lot of weeds that way. I only put down the salt one time in the early spring though.  You will still end up with some weeds.  You can harvest the spears for a couple months then let it grow the rest of the summer.  Keep an eye out for new shoots every couple of days once it starts.  They can sneak up on you!  Just cut those spears off just above ground level and enjoy.  Don't let it get too awful big before you cut or it will be tough and woody.  Then, in late winter or very early spring next year, repeat the above. 

You posted just as I did so let me add a couple of things.  You can work the leaves in if you want and you can add some of that manure if you want but if it were me, I wouldn't do that right now.  I would just clean up the area and then add to the soil later in the summer when the plants are just feeding the roots.

Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 11:13:33 PM »

Oh..another thought....those asparagus ferns later in the summer??? They are pretty in floral arrangements. 

KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 11:22:14 PM »

ok...sooooo...to harvest its mostly in spring? am I getting that right? or will there be after summer some? I am NOT a gardener by far, lol...hubby has always wanted a plot of asparagus...and he is nearly giving up on it since "I" didnt have time for it last year. I would like to surprise him with some!!  :ggrin2:

Also, if I put rock salt on there...( boughten at grocery store or farm store?) ... will they do the osmosis thing and the salt get into the plant?

I bet you guys like my way of talking, lol... I just lose my words in explaining what I am trying to say. You would think Im a 3yr old, lol...it better not get any worse!

Kim
Thank you!!  :ty2
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Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2011, 11:41:07 PM »

You will only be harvesting asparagus in the spring.  Once the weather gets hot the plants get tougher.  And you need to let it just grow on its own after that to feed the roots all summer.  The salt will just dissolve.  No need to do anything with that.  The plants will take what it wants.  Just sprinkle it on top of the soil.  Make sure it is salt and not ice melt.  Also, don't get crazy with the salt and add too much.  Take a look at my photo and see how much there is there.  Yeah, you have to look between the fence posts.  Those are there to keep the chickens out for now. I would buy the salt at the grocery store.  I usually buy the ice cream making salt.

Once asparagus bed is a couple of years old, it is really very low maintenance.  Keep the weeds out which is generally not too hard.  Add some compost and amendments sometime during the summer.  Enjoy the pretty ferns.  My asparagus also gets little berries that add to the color but do not eat them, they are said to be poisonous. 

KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2011, 11:45:07 PM »

 :gdoh1: MAN, I cant believe this!! I use to buy asparagus ferns for inside plants... same thing???  :gdoh1: I cant believe this...so can I get a asparagus fern to grow inside? just the fern part? or is that something else...?

Thanks for all your help! We never even KNEW harvest was just in the spring. Guess we really did our homework on that one, lol...

Im going to bed... maybe if I get a better nite sleep, things will get better in the mind, lol...geesh I NEVER put the 2 together before! lol

Kim
Im really showing my smarts!
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Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2011, 11:46:57 PM »

The house plant that one buys is a different variety of plant, I think...but don't quote me on that. 

KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2011, 11:47:38 PM »

 :gwave3  OK, WHEW, lol...

Kim  :ghug1:
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NavyGal

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2011, 01:52:38 PM »

Thanks for all the additional input, Roxie! 

KimB - my mom used to own a florist and Roxie's right - asparagus fern is different from the ferns from asparagus plants....

From wikipedia: Asparagus densiflorus is a weed native to South Africa, which is often used as an ornamental plant. Asparagus fern is a common name.
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KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2011, 03:47:08 PM »

 :gwave3 Okie Dokie!! I wont try n make my aspargus veggie into a house plant then! lol...

Kim
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KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2011, 05:18:27 PM »

 :gwave3   :woohoo I saw some asparagus spears, new ones! But, they are soooo skinny!!! I just came in from trying to cut down the dead things, to about 3 inches above ground. I had put Maggie in her inside crate. Of course, she knows its nice out and is barking her head off, which woke the  :sleep hubby up!! I was only out there 5-10 min. UGH... So Miss Maggie is out of her crate.
We had a really hard fast storm this morning, with 1/4- 1/2 inch hail. So her outside kennel is soaked and I dont have the means to give her a bath. She is just to darn big for a bath every time I put her in it. So, if I go out tomorrow morning...while hubby is awake and work on the garden then... I might see some bigger sprouts that can be harvested.

So, these skinny ones... I let them alone, right...let them keep growing till fall and then cut them down to about 3 inches, right?

 :gardener  :ty2

Kim
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Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2011, 07:47:20 PM »

no...go ahead and cut the skinny ones and enjoy them!  I am going to be eating my first serving of fresh asparagus in about 5 minutes as a matter of fact!  I don't have to share with husband, he doesn't like it.  I will be sharing later harvests with the princesses in a couple weeks.

The first photo was taken 3 days ago, the first spear to make its appearance!  The other photo is the first serving of steamed asparagus with lemon pepper that is ready for me to eat!

KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2011, 08:21:52 PM »

well Im thinking mine might be as thin as a toothpick or 2!! Not sure if there even would be a taste, lol...Maybe more heavier ones will pop up soon! Doubtful... What would happen if I put good soil over those old woody things? Mine sure dont have that many woody things tho... maybe 6-8...and they are all spread out...Still working on the lil area tho...clearing out all the dried up weeds...

Thanks for the pics too!! Wish I could see the TOP of one of those things to make sure that I am sure this is what they are, lol...

Kim
Storms  :rain  tonite...so may not get out there tomorrow.
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Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2011, 09:36:56 PM »

if they are that thin, they may need more time to grow then. LOL  what you see on the plate is exactly what they look like coming out of the ground.  the picture with the one spear in the midst of the old woody stems is the tire patch that is beginning it 3rd year I think. most of mine right now are the thickness of a pencil.

Here is a close up of a spear tip just about an inch out of the ground.

KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2011, 09:54:47 PM »

Thanks so much for all your help...guess THIS isnt the year we get to eat any, lol... will keep watch tho. I KNOW we didnt plant them last year...so it must have been year before... maybe more soil enrichment is in order this fall for sure!!  :gfriends1:

Thanks!

Kim  :gwave3
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KimB

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2011, 03:51:40 PM »

 :gwave3  :ghurray2:  :gclap2

Im soooo excited!! I saw a REAL to goodness asparagus out there!! I think what I saw out there before...those skinny things, could have been thin twiggy sticks... :gdoh1:!! I make such a great gardener, dont I? lol...

So, I took Ole Miss Maggie with me on her leash, chicken liver nuggets in my pocket...to help me keep her from pulling my arm off... and I was able to cut 4 of them babies!! There are maybe 4 more, but they are only like 3 inches high.

So, would you all cook these 4... or wait till I get those other 4? lol... so he can have 4 and I can have 4, lol...

I have them standing in a cup in the frig right now...good?

 :ghurray2:

Kim
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Roxiecat

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Re: Asparagus
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2011, 11:39:53 AM »

good!  I don't know what you want to do about eating or waiting.  If it was me, I would eat them all myself because 1: my husband doesn't help with the gardening and 2: he doesn't care for asparagus anyway. :lol
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